Hope for the Holidays


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Is this your first holiday season without your loved one? Second? Or maybe longer? Who is going to roast the turkey now that Grandma isn’t here anymore? What about that extra stocking that no longer needs to be hung on the mantle at Christmas? There are lots of traditions that can feel really different or empty without that special someone there to celebrate, and it can be a very difficult time for people who have experienced a death of someone they love. Here are a few helpful strategies for coping with your grief during the holiday season.

1. Set realistic expectations for yourself- Do what you can do and give yourself the grace and freedom to say no to things you can’t handle right now. Take others up on their offers to help.
2. Surround yourself with people who support you- The temptation may be to withdraw and cancel plans with family or friends, instead, make a point to be with loved ones. Many people find comfort in sharing memories about the person they have lost.
3. Take care of yourself- In addition to ensuring that you are taking care of your basic needs such as healthy eating, good sleep, and exercise, try doing one special thing for yourself this holiday season. Go ahead, indulge once or twice.
4. Allow yourself to feel your emotions- It’s okay to have feelings and every person feels differently and grieves differently. Allow yourself and family members to feel joy, sadness, anger, etc. and talk about those feelings.
5. Create a new tradition- It can sometimes be comforting to keep old traditions but it can also be incredibly painful. Talk about it as a family first, but consider doing things a little differently this year. You can even do something in remembrance of the person who has died- such as light a candle, have a moment of silence, or sing their favorite Christmas

The most important thing to remember is that everyone grieves differently and that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate this holiday season.